Saturday, January 12, 2013

This Artist's Dirty Little Secret Places

Ten or twelve, maybe more, years ago, Mike and I put a shelving unit up in our garage to house my paintings. At this point I was more actively trying to sell my art at local fairs, coffee shops, offices, etc. With a plastic table cloth thrown over the front to keep dust out, it became camouflaged in the garage with so many "maybe I can use that later" items. 

There is has been sitting through many art stages of my career. I left for Hawaii, two years later I returned, there it sat. I moved on to my "River Series," there it sat. I am embarrassed to say that I have not even looked at the paintings and prints in there until shortly after New Years. As I was spending more money on framing new art, I suddenly got it that I had a lot of resources ($$$) sitting in my Dirty Little Secret Place.

I wish I'd taken a photo before I started clearing it out, because it was a trash heap. I even found mouse turds! Here you see it as a relatively organized space. However, all these frames are coming out to be disassembled and repackaged.

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I have a table set up for my project. What I thought would take an afternoon or two is now approaching week 2. One excuse is that the garage is 32 degrees F. until a wood stove heats it up to 45 degrees which takes a couple of hours.

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And here is the final step of my operation. The metal frames are neatly wrapped and labeled with the size, colors and damage. The glass is wrapped according to size and shelved beside the frames. But the truly hard part is ahead of me. Please help!

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I know I'm not the only artist (or other hobbyist ) with this problem.

-What do I do with old paintings that no longer represent the artist I am now?
-Can I restore scratched up metal frames?
-Is there a market for any of this stuff?
-Should I just have a giant bonfire?

I am anxiously waiting for some helpful suggestions, as I freeze my fingers to the bone out in my garage. 


Anonymous said...

Kathleen Conover had us paint gesso juice over old paintings. The cool thing about the juice is that it accepts watercolor. If you go online you will find the recipe. Look up gesso juice. We made it from gesso, matte medium and water. I can not remember the exact proportions but the juice is the consistency of unwhipped cream. I think we mixed a cup of gesso to a half cup of matte medium then added water accordingly. You get the idea of the proportions: 2:1 plus some water.


Anonymous said...

Margaret, I will never forget one winter evening/many/? several years ago. My storage space for those paintings was inside, but taking up space I sorely needed. And everytime I got them out to look them over for possibilities, I wanted to quit painting - all sorts of styles, none of which I felt was me. Gene was off steelheading and I built a big fire in the fireplace and sat there feeding them one at a felt great! I was free.

Now that may not be the right choice for you...your working with all those layers of stuff, collage, gauche, acrylic etc. may lend themselves to something exciting. And I did learn to make use of some of my later disasters, with the use of an electric rotary sander on a few.

As to the aluminum frames, there is probably a way to use them, paint? or something but if it is very time consuming you might be ahead to spend your time painting.

One thing I didn't do was consider marketing them - I didn't even give them to my kids and I'm glad I didn't. Now remember, you asked for advise and I haven't seen any of these works. You may be sitting on a goldmine for all I know. Nice weather for a fire in the fireplace though.

All the best,

Anonymous said...

Aloha Margaret,
Sandblast the scratched frames!

Anonymous said...

Post pics of the old paintings and see if there are any interested buyers. I'm sure there will be!

Liz said...

I have the same problem, Margaret--lots of paintings from 10 years ago that no longer represent my current style. I gave some to family members, but STILL have a ton of these.

You can, of course, use the back to do new paintings (I've even painted black gesso over some so I won't see the old painting) because after all, that paper did cost you money! How many paintings are we talking about--a dozen, 100? It's a common artist's problem. As for old frames, I'd give them to goodwill if you really think you won't use them.